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2004 Kia spectra knocking w/ possible oil overfill

My husband drove the car all day Tuesday. When I started it on Wednesday, it was making a very small tic tic tic sound. I recognized it from when I took it to a quick lube place and they forgot to put oil in it. I told my hubby to check the oil and surprise, it was empty.

This is not the first time oil has “magically” disappeared from this car. It happened once before about 2 years ago.

Hubby adds about a quart, goes to the store and get more and the fixens for an oil change. He attempts to change the oil, and finds that he doesn’t have the right tool so he just adds more oil while the front of the car is on jackstands.

He drives it about 60 miles (to and almost from work) before it starts banging (possibly clanging or knocking, he was a little vague). He goes 5 miles before he can safely pull over and possibly checks and or adds oil (again with the vague).

He checked the oil again, at my request, after he got home and the engine cooled. It was 1-2 inches over the full mark according to the visual he gave me. I will check myself tomorrow when it’s light outside.

There is usually an oil spot where he parks the car from when I added oil to my truck and spilled some but I noticed there there is a lot more now than before. We’ve had rain every day for the past two weeks so I’m calling it another red flag.

My question is, does the banging (clanging or knocking) signify permanent and expensive damage. Or can I drain some of the oil and hope for the best.

This car was usually only driven less than 20 miles a day until last Tuesday. Now it needs to be driven almost 80 because of my husbands new job.

I see enough in this post to declare your engine scrap metal. There’s too many no oil episodes and driving 5 miles with it banging the entire way? It took 5 full miles to find a spot to safely pull over?
This car should probably not even be driven around the block.

So. Does anyone check the engine oil level on a regular basis and where was the red oil pressure light on the dashboad during all of this?

Besides what has been noted you cannot just accept that the oil is gone for some reason and just add more. Of course you have to add until the correct level, that is not what I mean. What I mean is, it appears that several times your oil was way low, then you did not question why it was low but added more and ended up overfilled. This one is a bit hard to figure out, all except for the result of driving 5 miles with the engine making noises, this is not at all good.

If the engine is making noise, removal of excess oil will not fix the cause of this noise. Noise is the result of operating the engine when it should not have been operated, it is surely only an indication of another problem.

I will add, before a final decision that the engine is severely damaged get a mechanic to check it out but don’t go to the mechanic and say “I think I need a new engine” Take the car (do not drive it though)to the mechanic and say “I hear noise from the engine, what do you hear”?

I agree.
While some of the details are a bit vague, there are enough details to make me doubtful that this engine has much life left in it. Running it once without oil in the crankcase is usually enough to destroy the bearings in an engine. Two times, and it is surely toast at this point.

My suggestions for your future cars:

DO NOT go to quick lube places.

Always check the dipstick immediately after an oil change–no matter who changed the oil.

If you find a low oil level, do not start the engine or drive the car until you have restored it to the proper level.

Do not put one qt in a dry crankcase and pronounce it safe to drive to the store. Get a ride from a neighbor if necessary in order to pick up a few qts of oil.

Never ignore a low oil pressure warning light. This light means that you need to pull over and stop the engine as quickly as it is safe to do so–preferably within a few seconds.

When adding oil, add it 1/2 qt at a time, checking the dipstick a minute or so after adding each 1/2 qt, so as to not overfill it. A grossly overfilled crankcase can be as injurious as a dry crankcase.

Don’t allow hubby to do any more work on your car until he has taken a basic car maintenance course at your local adult night school.

The oil pressure light never came on. Ever. I guess that was why I never questioned it before. Head meet sand The only light that ever came on was the check engine light when the quick lube place didn’t put the air filter housing back on properly.

Hubby was on the highway when the noise started and there is really no place to pull over. There’s more than 5 miles between off ramps. I don’t know why the side of the road was not suitable. I wasn’t there.

Towing the car can be a bit of a problem. I live 20 miles from town and the only towing company will charge us $150+ just to come out here. I was hoping I could drain some of the oil and drive it over to the closest mechanic, about 5 miles. I don’t know why they don’t have their own tow truck. They just don’t.

Thank you for replying to me. I think our money may be better spent on moving and getting bikes.

I’m just adding my vote to what everyone else has said: based on what you’ve describe, the engine is history. The banging is typically referred to as “bearing knock”. It’s what happens when the crank bearings (main and rod) get damaged due to lack of oil. Along with that typically comes cylinder wall damage. It’s probably leaking a lot more now too, since the rubber “main seals” at the ends of the crank that hold the oil in are probably shot from having the crank spin in them while dry.

If he’s going to be commuting 80 miles a day to his new job, let me suggest that you pick up a book at the local bookstore on basic auto care and make him sit down and read it. 'Else your new car will be headed for the same fate.

Sincere best.

I’d like someone to explain to me why it is that every vehicle that goes through a damaged engine due to very little or no engine oil always seems to have an inoperative oil pressure lamp.

I think we all know the answer to that question.

More than likely, we can file these sad tales under the topic of (pick one or more):

Lack of Vigilance
Just plain lying

Glaucoma (tunnel vision)…

I reserve the right to kid about it because I have it.

Don’t beat up your husband for overfilling the oil - that’s not what caused the damage. It was the zero oil condition that did that.
As for the low oil light, by the time that comes on, your engine is usually toast anyway. You should get in the habit of checking your next engine’s oil at least every other gas fill, and as already mentioned, after any oil change. If you feel bad about that in front of the mechanic, drive the car to a nearby parking lot and do it there, but do it ASAP.
Your engine is of course, done. I doubt a replacement engine is worth it for this car, but maybe the powertrain is still under warranty? At least check it out.

It is the same reason they “cannot find a safe place to pull over”.

Well the car was started and put on a trailer and sent to a mechanic. The bang was more of a rapid ticking.
The most Hubby is getting out of this deal is a new engine (or a beater)so he can drive to his new job and pay someone else to take car of his car. Now that he can afford it. I get a calender and a highlighter.
Lesson Learned. The hard way.

Believe it or not the change from a knock to “rapid ticking” is a very postive development. Perhaps, just perhaps the damage is only with the valve train and not so deep into the engine. I am just trying to give a bit of hope here.

I appreciate that. Hubby messing up his car changed our plans of moving. I’ll take any hope I can get.

While I agree with the others, I will add this.  I wonder if the oil is being properly measured?  

Measuring it right after driving likely will give a false reading, as will checking it when the car is not on level ground.  It also is a good idea to measure it, wipe the stick and measure it again.  

My guess is there was some measurement errors.

I wondered the same thing but didn’t bring it up. I didn’t want to kick him while he was down.
That being said, the mechanic drained the oil, added the correct amount and the car was fine. We brought it home today. I’m sure that there is going to be a problem later on because of this. Only time will tell and I appreciate all the advice everyone on here has given me.

I know where the light is, it comes on when I turn the key to the on position. But the light didn’t come on at the quicky lube place and on the day that I had Hubby check the oil. I don’t know what happened on Monday. I wasn’t there and I refused to turn the car on to find out on Tuesday.
I will have to ask the mechanic about it in June when it goes back for an oil change.